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L.A. mayoral hopeful Wendy Greuel wins backing of Emily's List

March 15, 2013 | 10:30 am

City Controller Wendy Greuel exchanges hands slaps with her son as she addresses supporters on Los Angeles mayoral primary night on March 5.  Credit: David McNew / Getty Images

As Los Angeles mayoral hopefuls Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti race to raise money in the 10 weeks before their May runoff, Greuel on Friday announced the backing of Emily's List, a group that could pack a powerful punch in helping the city controller solicit contributions from women across the country.

Emily's List, which recruits and supports female abortion-rights candidates, has helped scores of congressional and gubernatorial candidates expand their fundraising networks.

In 2013, the organization -- which claims to have a list of 2 million members -- is turning its attention to the bids of female mayoral candidates in some of the nation’s largest cities, including New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Houston Mayor Annise Parker, with the view that those positions could be pipelines to the governor’s office and beyond.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

“For women and men across the country to see more women in those executive positions really does open people’s minds to the possibilities of more women governors, and ultimately a woman in the White House,” Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in an interview.

In backing Greuel, she said, the group saw a candidate who already has a proven record in L.A. and "an economic vision to move the city forward.” Schriock noted that Greuel had “also worked so closely with women, and family and children across the city, which is an important part of the discussion.”

Greuel, who likes to say that she would be not only the first female mayor but the first “mom mayor,” called the endorsement an extraordinary lift to her campaign: “They are recognizing that it is important to support the first woman mayor in the city of Los Angeles ... particularly as you look at the dearth of women on our City Council.” (Men currently hold 14 of the 15 seats on the panel.)

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With the endorsement, Greuel will be redoubling her efforts to raise her profile among female voters across the city. Though the Greuel campaign had hoped that highlighting the potentially historic nature of her election would bring more voters into her camp in the primary, a February poll by USC and the Los Angeles Times did not detect any evidence that strategy was working.

Women’s groups have praised Garcetti’s progressive record and his work during his City Council years on issues such as domestic violence and elimination of the backlog in DNA rape kits. During the primary, the California chapter of the National Organization for Women endorsed Garcetti.

Even with two women in the race -- Greuel and City Councilwoman Jan Perry -- NOW President Patty Bellasalma said the group had considered which candidate would be “most willing to create a more equal playing field" for women.

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"The answer to that question –- without hesitation -– was Eric Garcetti," Bellasalma said.

Asked about the distinctions between her record and Garcetti’s, Greuel noted that she has focused on issues important to women since the early days of her career as an aide to former Mayor Tom Bradley, including after-school programs such as L.A.’s Best, affordable child-care programs and the advancement of women in the Police Department.

“I’ve demonstrated as an elected official that I come to this position with experience, but also with a heart and an understanding of what women struggle with. This is an opportunity to use voice, and to use being the first, to ensure that women’s voices are always heard.”


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Photo: City Controller Wendy Greuel exchanges hands slaps with her son as she addresses supporters on Los Angeles mayoral primary night on March 5.  Credit: David McNew / Getty Images